Featured Articles

[H]ard News

Sunday May 29, 2016

DTS:X Finally Ready To Take On Dolby Atmos

I feel like I’ve already got my hands full with five, six, or seven channels of audio and LFE, but now you’ve got the option of height channels and speakers that fire upward for a more enveloping experience.

The idea is to create a bubble of sound around by using dedicated height channels -- in essence, speakers aimed straight up at the ceiling, not horizontally toward the listener. Both DTS:X and Dolby Atmos soundtracks are available on standard Blu-ray discs, as well as the newer 4K versions. Rather than requiring cinemas and home users to install a set number of channels, object-based soundtracks are more akin to a globe as opposed to the "five points on a map" of a traditional 5.1 mix. Object-based soundtracks consist of a rendering in 3D space made of up to 128 channels, which are designed to adapt to whatever speakers are in a cinema in real time.


Petition For Blizzard To Remove Guns From Overwatch Nears 14,000 Supporters

"I would like Tracer to be my daughter's role model and I am concerned that she will think playing with guns is fine."

News Image

…we in the gaming community still have many concerns about the upcoming Overwatch game, including the use of guns to violently kill other players, sometimes even going as far as shooting each other in the head. We, the gaming community, would like to put a stop to this brutality. Please sign this petition if you agree. If we can cleanse Overwatch of all of it's problematic guns and sexuality, we will finally have a first person shooter that we can play with our entire family.


Pirate Bay Founder Calls Mark Zuckerberg A Dictator

Is the owner of the "biggest nation" in the world a dictator? Maybe. In related news, Facebook will track you across the web—so much for just not having an account.

He denounced Facebook's policy requiring people to use their real name, as in some countries, this can get people persecuted and makes it hard to organize political movements. "Mark Zuckerberg is a rich white dude from a really privileged background," Sunde said, explaining why he thinks the Facebook boss doesn't understand cultural differences. "The reason for the real name policy is Mark Zuckerberg wants to make another dollar."


Mirror’s Edge To Be Adapted As TV Series

Live action? Animation? I have no idea, but you can look forward to more of the franchise beyond the gaming box.

"We clearly see Mirror’s Edge as a franchise for the global TV audience," said Sharon Hall, President of Endemol Shine Studios. "It has a strong female protagonist, a wildly rabid fan base and a worldwide brand that Electronic Arts and EA DICE have done an amazing job establishing." Mirror’s Edge was well received when introduced in 2007. The game property is being rebooted with the upcoming Mirror’s Edge Catalyst, which will be released on June 7.


Delta Helps TSA Fix Security Checkpoints

…it took over a million bucks for them to come up with the revolutionary idea of adding additional stations and automated conveyors?

Delta has been working on something it calls "innovation lines," a slightly modified version of the normal TSA checkpoints that already bog down every airport. After spending over a million dollars in an attempt to fix the system, it seems like they've arrived at a solution. Even if it's not the best possible option, it's got to be better than what we've got. Delta's innovation lines rely on a couple of tweaks. Instead of having passengers bin-up their stuff one at a time, the innovation lines have five designated stations so that the whole line isn't held up by one person who can't fish their keys out of their pocket.


How The Internet Works: Submarine Fiber, Brains In Jars, And Coaxial Cables

If you saw the "Microsoft and Facebook are laying a cable across the Atlantic" stories this week and want to learn more about the relevance of such feats, this may be the article for you.

Have you ever thought about how that cat picture actually gets from a server in Oregon to your PC in London? We’re not simply talking about the wonders of TCP/IP or pervasive Wi-Fi hotspots, though those are vitally important as well. No, we’re talking about the big infrastructure: the huge submarine cables, the vast landing sites and data centres with their massively redundant power systems, and the elephantine, labyrinthine last-mile networks that actually hook billions of us to the Internet. And perhaps even more importantly, as our reliance on omnipresent connectivity continues to blossom, our connected device numbers swell, and our thirst for bandwidth knows no bounds, how do we keep the Internet running?


Gillian Anderson Up For Being The Next James Bond

A female Bond may actually not be a bad idea, but that might just be the X-Files fan in me talking.

News Image

Actor Daniel Craig has inhabited the character of James Bond for four films, but has hinted he might leave the role. That means speculation is running rampant about who could step into the superspy's shiny shoes. Names like Idris Elba and Tom Hiddleston have floated around, but one of the wilder ideas is to cast Anderson of "X-Files" fame as the next superspy. Anderson is on Tumblr under the name Chewie's Girlfriend (a reference to Chewbacca from Star Wars). She recently answered a series of questions on the platform, one of which was "What's the best rumour you've ever heard about yourself?" Her answer: "That I might be the next Bond."


Father, Son Caught By Surprise As Drone Shot Out Of Sky

Lawyer: "…if you see something you think is improper, the best approach is to call the police or the FAA, not to take your shotgun and take matters into your own hands."

A Rutherford County man flying a new drone with his 7-year-old son was caught by surprise when someone shot it down. Gary Sammons told News 2 he was flying the DJ I Phantom 4 Drone near his Rutherford County home last Saturday when the incident occurred. Sammons said his son was watching the drone’s path on an iPad and asked him who people on the ground were. As he moved the drone closer and hovered, that’s when someone at a neighbor’s home fired several shots.


Tesla To Hold Gigafactory Grand Opening On July 29

One of the key elements to producing the Model 3 and other Tesla vehicles will be opening in about two months. The factory was reportedly only 14% complete at the beginning of this month.

Electric car maker Tesla Motors plans to hold a "grand opening" celebration for its massive battery factory under construction outside of Reno, Nev. on the night of July 29. The company disclosed that date in an email to customers who had won tickets to the event by referring more than five other customers in Tesla’s car referral program. The email was posted to Reddit and Tesla confirmed with Fortune that a customer-focused launch event will occur that night.


Asus Announcing 24-inch Windows 10 Gaming Laptop At Computex 2016?

24 inches? Are you sure that’s big enough? I can’t even imagine how much this thing weighs, but it could be the most powerful laptop ever.

News Image

ASUS's Republic of Gamer blog posted a couple of images from this monster laptop. While the 24-inch size was not mentioned in the post itself, one of the tags at the bottom of the blog does state 24" laptop. The blog has also posted up some 3DMark 11 benchmark results for the laptop, showing that it outperforms a PC using an NVIDIA GTX Titan X. Could this notebook have a NVIDIA GTX 1070 or 1080 card inside?


10 Legendary Computers Photographed

I wouldn’t have been able to tell you the name of a single one of these if it weren’t for the captions, but these old-school computers are pretty interesting to look at.

News Image

…Ball began to research, locating the computers that changed the course of technology, and found that most of them were sitting in museums. In his formal request to photograph them, Ball made it clear he would be photographing the machines in a way in which they'd never been seen. "I think [that] piqued [the museums'] interest and helped start a basis for the project," he said. Working with the production studio INK, Ball created 10 gorgeous photos and pulled historic information on each of the computers.


Google Steps Up Pressure On Partners Tardy In Updating Android

Google is supposedly "getting serious" about tackling fragmentation with Android, which is definitely one of the OS’s biggest problems. The company is taking steps to shame vendors that lag behind, but there’s also those pesky carriers to worry about.

News Image

Google is using more forceful tactics. It has drawn up lists that rank top phone makers by how up-to-date their handsets are, based on security patches and operating system versions, according to people familiar with the matter. Google shared this list with Android partners earlier this year. It has discussed making it public to highlight proactive manufacturers and shame tardy vendors through omission from the list, two of the people said. The people didn’t want to be identified to maintain their relationships with Google.


Saturday May 28, 2016

OLED Unlikely To Replace LED

Is he right? I hope not because there is only so much backlight bleed and relatively poor black levels that I can take.

While OLED panels are seeing increasing use in smartphones and have been adopted for TVs, the technology is unlikely to replace TFT-LCD panels and therefore makers of light guide plates for LCD panels will not see major impacts, said chairman Lee Man-hsiang of light guide plate maker Global Lighting Technologies (GLT) at a May 26 investors conference. Production cost for OLED panels is relatively high due to low yield rates, Lee said, adding OLED TVs will take up less than 10% of global demand for TVs. In addition to light guide plates used in IT and TV panels, GLT has developed light guide plates for use in smart wearable devices' displays, automotive displays and lighting products, Lee indicated.


Samsung Showcases 4K UHD Display For VR

Samsung’s got a new prototype 4K 5.5" screen that offers a 44.7% increase in pixel density from 2K. Let’s hope the resolution doesn’t also mean a 44% decrease in battery life.

Tucked among the televisions, cellphones and monitors Samsung quietly was showing off a "high resolution for VR" 5.5" display boasting a 4K (3840 x 2160) resolution and a 44.7% increase in pixel density (806ppi). Shown outside of a headset, display itself was pretty gorgeous, bright with excellent contrast and color – however it seemed to be running at a lower frame rate, so it may currently have a less than optimal refresh rate for VR, though we were unable to verify this.


4K Xbox Scorpio Targeting 6TFLOPS, 1.5 Times Faster Than PS4K

The Xbox One is getting a slim version this year, but more exciting is what’s in store for 2017: a revision with a new GPU that will make it even more powerful than the PS4K. Remind me to not buy a launch console ever again.

News Image

Current plans have the smaller Xbox One scheduled for release this August. Pricing for the system has not been finalized. The other console, codenamed Scorpio, is unlikely to be released until late 2017, according to Polygon's sources. It will likely be announced in the next month, though plans are somewhat in flux. Like the all-but-confirmed PS4 "Neo," Scorpio represents an evolution of console generations, one that straddles the line somewhat between an entirely new installment of the Xbox platform and a continuation of the existing Xbox One.


Vivendi Begins Hostile Takeover Of Gameloft, Ubisoft Next

Vivendi, which once owned Activision Blizzard, has reportedly won over enough shareholders to take over Gameloft. If that happens, Ubisoft, with its much higher market value, is presumed to be next.

A resolution of the fight at Gameloft, maker of "Order & Chaos" and "Dungeon Hunter," would clear the way for a bigger battle over Ubisoft Entertainment, the creator of "Assassin’s Creed," also run by the Guillemots. Vivendi owns 17.7 percent of the capital and is seeking board representation there. "A first door has been unlocked with Gameloft," said Antoine Bonduelle, fund manager at Alma Capital & Associes in Paris. "The focus and the battle are now clearly on Ubisoft." As of Tuesday, Ubisoft had a market value of 3.57 billion euros, more than five times that of Gameloft.


62% Of Americans Get News On Social Media

Out of that percentage, 66% get their news from Facebook. Well, at least everyone knows that Amber Heard has filed a restraining order against Johnny Depp and that it took a competitive eater nearly half an hour to eat a 7700-calorie bowl of cinnamon toast crunch.

News plays a varying role across the social networking sites studied. Two-thirds of Facebook users (66%) get news on the site, nearly six-in-ten Twitter users (59%) get news on Twitter, and seven-in-ten Reddit users get news on that platform. On Tumblr, the figure sits at 31%, while for the other five social networking sites it is true of only about one-fifth or less of their user bases. It is also useful to see how, when combined with the sites’ total reach, the proportion of users who gets news on each site translates to U.S. adults overall. Facebook is by far the largest social networking site, reaching 67% of U.S. adults.


Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge Injustice Edition

I’m almost positive that Bruce uses some kind of Lumia phone in Batman v. Superman, but this Samsung Galaxy S7 variant might be a better fit.


Content-Aware Crop Coming To Photoshop CC

I think content-aware debuted way back in 2010, but I am still blown away by its magic. Now Adobe is integrating it with the crop function.


Apple Store Worker Tells Us What It's Really Like Working For Apple

What’s it like to wear the blue t-shirt? An Apple Store employee tells it all in this lengthy interview, where he claims it’s easier to get into Harvard than work at Apple retail.

There’s generally an uncomfortable customer interaction for an employee at least once a day, which will need the manager to intervene. For the Genius Bar it’s higher. I had a friend who was working on the accessories wall and a customer literally pushed her. I have had death threats before. I had someone, I can’t even remember why — it may have been an out-of-warranty fix — who told me that because we wouldn’t repair it for free that they would wait outside until I finished work to run me down with their car.


Google Photos To Give Free Unlimited Original Quality Backup To Nexus Devices

There are already a bunch of great reasons to own a Nexus device, and now Google has given you one more. In a future update, Nexus owners will be able to upload as many photos as they want to Google Photos without quality loss.

…the free unlimited 'original quality' storage won't apply to just photos, but video as well. Like photos, the high quality option scales videos down too. The difference is that the cap is set at 1080p. The Nexus 6P and 5X are both capable of shooting 4K video (2160p). Once this new policy is in effect for Nexus devices, full-resolution 4k video will be free to back up. Another thing many people aren't aware of with the 'high quality' setting is photos and video uploaded through that method are processed to further reduce file size, even if they are already at or below 16 MP. The resolution isn't changed, but some extra magic is performed to cut out even more data. The results are very good, usually looking identical to the naked eye, but there's often some small adjustment to colors or clarity that will be lost in the process, and artifacts may become more visible after zooming in.


HP, MSI, And Zotac Are Making Backpack PCs

I could be completely wrong and this niche could actually take off, but I think strapping a PC (which could weigh close to 10 pounds) to your back with batteries that only last an hour is pretty nuts.

News Image

HP says it wants this backpack to be accessible, but it will almost certainly be more expensive than your average VR-ready desktop, which already runs around $1,000. Given how much hardware needs to be shrunk and rearranged, it may be more like a VR-ready laptop, which can cost two or three times as much. And it doesn't actually let you travel farther than a tethered system, since it's limited by the headset's tracking capabilities. It's just (theoretically) better-feeling and more convenient.


Windows 10 Books Big Growth Spurt

The OS has posted its largest growth since August 2015. Many, however, are questioning how many new users are consumers who were "duped" into upgrading.

...consumers may have reacted to Microsoft's May 5 notice that it will end the free upgrade offer on July 29. By restating the deadline, Microsoft may have prompted large numbers of laggards to grab Windows 10 while the grabbing was gratis. Second, Microsoft has changed how users interact with a notification that their Windows 10 upgrade, already downloaded to their machine, has been scheduled for execution. Rather than interpret the clicking of the red "X" in the upper-right corner of the pop-up window as canceling the slated upgrade, Microsoft has taken to assuming that the action actually approves the upgrade.


No Man's Sky Delayed Until August

Originally set to debut next month, No Man’s Sky will now be available for the PS4—assuming there are no more "short" delays—in August.

After a short delay, No Man’s Sky will launch in North America on August 9, in Europe August 10, and in the UK August 12. We understand that this news is disappointing. Making this game is the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life, but we are so close now, and we’re prepared to make the tough choices to get it right. The universe of No Man’s Sky is incredibly vast. More than you can imagine. This is a type of game that hasn’t been attempted before, by a smaller team than anyone would expect, under an intense amount of expectation.


Friday May 27, 2016

[H]ard|OCP Week in Reviews

Today is Friday and you know what that means! It is time once again for the [H]ard|OCP Week in Reviews! For anyone that might have missed them, we like to take a quick look back on the hardware evaluations and articles we posted earlier in the week. We kicked the week off with our evaluation of the XFX Radeon R9 Fury Triple Dissipation video card, followed by our FSP Hydro X 650W Power Supply review Finally, we wrapped things up with our editorial From ATI to AMD back to ATI? A Journey in Futility.

News Image News Image News Image

[H]ardware Round-Up II

Motherboards: ASUS X99-Deluxe II @ Vortez

Storage: ASUSTOR AS3202T NAS @ APH Networks

Video: 12-Way NVIDIA GeForce Linux Comparison @ Phoronix

MSI AfterBurner 4.3.0 Beta 3 Guide @ Guru3D

Overwatch Benchmarked: Graphics & CPU Performance @ TechSpot

Destiny Recreated In Minecraft

I am astounded at some of the things people build using Minecraft. It's mind numbing to think about how much time must have went into this.


Health Providers Spill Patient Secrets On Yelp

If you write a negative review about a doctor or dentist on Yelp, you better watch out, they could respond by spilling your secrets on the internet. Who cares if they aren't supposed to? Breaking the law, libelous statements and lawsuits are all fair game in a Yelp review. wink

Health professionals are adapting to a harsh reality in which consumers rate them on sites like Yelp, Vitals and RateMDs much as they do restaurants, hotels and spas. The vast majority of reviews are positive. But in trying to respond to negative ones, some providers appear to be violating the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, the federal patient privacy law known as HIPAA. The law forbids them from disclosing any patient health information without permission.


North Korea Linked To Digital Attacks On Global Banks

What do they mean they "think" North Korea is behind a string of attempted cyber-bank robberies? How hard is it to find out? North Korea only has one internet connection in the whole country. wink

In three recent attacks on banks, researchers working for the digital security firm Symantec said, the thieves deployed a rare piece of code that had been seen in only two previous cases: the hacking attack at Sony Pictures in December 2014 and attacks on banks and media companies in South Korea in 2013. Government officials in the United States and South Korea have blamed those attacks on North Korea, though they have not provided independent verification.


Apple's Echo Rival Has Built-In Camera

Does anyone know why you would need a camera in one of these things? Maybe use it as home security or a nanny cam? Nah, that sounds too useful for Apple, the camera will probably be used to tell you when you look like crap and suggest a diet or new clothes.

Thanks to the Echo and its built-in voice assistant called Alexa, Amazon is already playing a central role in that transition in people's homes. Apple finds itself behind the pack even though it launched Siri before digital assistants came into vogue. Neither the Echo nor Google's recently announced device, Google Home, currently have cameras. They're both voice-activated speakers that let you control your home appliances by speaking commands aloud. Apple's device also will obey voice commands through Siri, The Information reported earlier this week.


Previous News